Jean-Pierre Dick, Ambassador of stubborn determination

Jean-Pierre Dick

Jean-Pierre Dick's record of achievements
In summary:

- 2011: Jean-Pierre Dick elected Sailor of the Year
- 2011 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Jérémie Beyou)
- 2010-2011 Winner of the Barcelona World Race (with Loïck Peyron)
- 2010 Route du Rhum, 4th
- 2007-2008 Winner of the Barcelona World Race (with Damian Foxall)
- 2006 Route du Rhum, 3rd
- 2005 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Loïck Peyron)
- 2004-2005 Vendée Globe, 6th
- 2003 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Nicolas Abiven)
- 2001 Winner of the Tour de France à la Voile

Native of Nice - trained as a veterinary surgeon with a 3rd cycle HEC qualification - this experienced (and feared) racer has devoted himself to oceanic racing since 2002. A meticulous, relentless worker and unfalteringly perfectionist, every day he continues to assert himself a little more in the role of the old sea dog. In the kingdom of the 60 foot Open, of which he has become a leading figure, he is always ready to take on the most daring challenges, provided they have a highly maritime flavour. JP's word of honour!

JP, Monty Python's Black Knight
When, in November 2004, Jean-Pierre Dick turned up at the starting line of the Vendée Globe, few were to bet on the capacity of this fellow to finish his non-stop round-the-world, three months later in Sables d'Olonne. This former veterinary surgeon, better known for his ability to steer a racing yacht with a crew and for a pronounced tendency to absent-mindedness, forced the admiration of his peers, despite also raising the question as to whether this sailor was really aware of the ordeals ahead of him in the South Seas. What actually happened might have proved them right, since fate seemed to dog the initiatory race of this single-handed sailor: gooseneck ripped away twice, failure of the steering equipment, boom broken, and engine breakdown. Many a sailor would have thrown in the towel, but “JP”, as he is known to friends, hung on. At some sailing bar counters, punters with a ready tongue enjoyed comparing him with Monty Python's Black Knight, who relentlessly continued to fight his adversaries, even after the loss of his limbs. But there you go, by stint of innocence and determination, he got the better of all the ordeals the ocean laid before him and finished his first Vendée Globe in sixth position.

South Sea Traveller
Jean-Pierre Dick is of an unusual mettle. His delightful politeness, verging on the old-fashioned, translates this privileged education that could have been put on one side by taking up the reins of the family business. Veterinary studies supplemented by solid business training at the HEC gave him all the tools necessary to fulfil a destiny which seemed mapped out. Of course, there would be some get-away trips, such as this ineffable need to sail with friends, to race along the French coast, but everyone knows what it is like to have fleeting youthful passions. When you have such strengths to succeed socially, you do not have the right to disappoint the institutional system that backed you.
But no, JP chose to travel the South Seas, and rub shoulders with often crudely outspoken sailors, and to invest his energy in the most ambitious offshore racing projects. You might have thought that he would never know which way to tackle this business, but around him, he brought together one of the best performing teams, in which English organizational rigour competes with Latin creativity in innovation. In short! Jean-Pierre Dick is only seldom where you might imagine he might be, and this is proof if ever there was that the fellow deserves that we spend a little time on him.

He is one of those sailors whose career seems obvious. They fell into the cauldron of magic potion when they were little and their story always begins with: “he already knew how to scull before he even knew how to walk…” In the case of the tall blond, there is no family resemblance, but a passion for the sea, which came as a matter of course, when you live in Nice, on the shores of the Mediterranean. The proof is that Jean-Pierre is also an accomplished swimmer able to keep on going for kilometres in the water. Against many visual images, this is someone who loves being on the water as much as diving into it. In the same way, having sailed for a long time with a crew, whose members often fretted for fear that he might forget his boots or the race instructions for the next leg, this sailor regularly sets off into the mountains to recharge his batteries, alone, in solitude.

Absolute Dreamer
Yet, this great dreamer can also be terribly practical. Scarcely had he been forced to abandon in his second Vendée Globe, had he set up a third project together with his team. This involved the organization of the sale of his boat to manufacture a state-of-the art prototype and the use of the same recipes that were the success of the second campaign: delocalization of the yard work to New Zealand to take advantage of Kiwi know-how, attractive prices and the obligation of returning by sea on the yacht, passing Cape Horn. Since you can be a man with taste and also have good business flair, he also launched fast cruiser, the boldly innovative JP54, from which, behind the offshore racer, we catch a glimpse of the sailor who will surely decide one day to take a closer look at the anchorages around the Kerguelen Islands or the turquoise lagoons of the Marquesas Islands.

Perhaps this is where we see the real nature of Jean-Pierre Dick. The number of people, who at some stage in their lives have thought that it might be time for them to abandon the honey traps of an industrialized society, to return to the real values of a simple and natural life, is greater than you might think. Jean-Pierre Dick does. Since he is a gambling man, he adds the necessary spice of setting new targets to racing. Jean-Pierre Dick had childhood dreams; he has made them come true.

©PF Bonneau - Extract from “Coureurs d'océans”